Culinary School Here I Come (46) Beginning Baking Week 3, Bagels, Prezels, Breads and Doughnuts…Oh My!


Snacks left out for the vultures!

Sourdough Rye in the scaling/portioning step.

I am quite familiar with the 12 step program but did you know that there is the 12 step baking program? It’s not like the steps to help you deal with your demons, these 12 steps are for the production of yeast breads; 1. Scaling the ingredients, 2. Mixing, 3. Bulk fermentation, 4. Folding or punching, 5. Scaling or portioning of dough, 6. Rounding, 7. Benching, 8. Makeup and panning, 9. Proofing, 10. Baking, 11. Cooling, 12. Storing. As you can see, the production of yeast breads are quite intense. Why not just go to Costco and get a couple of loaves? It would actually be cheaper, so as a home baker, bread making may not be the most productive use of time. It is good to give it a try and to feel what a soft pillowy hunk of proofed dough feels like. The breads that we made this week were amazing. But I don’t have a hearth oven with steam injection so I may continue baking a few other breads at home but we shall see.

Bagels in the rack oven baking.

This was the first time I’ve ever seen the making of a bagel. It starts out looking a lot like any other bread. A stronger, higher gluten flour is used to give it it’s chewy profile but the similarities end there. The formed and proofed bagel dough gets a quick 30 second bath in water and honey. The bath gives the bagel it’s smooth coating and the honey gives it it’s darker color. The bagels get seeded after they get out of the oven or else the toppings would burn.

Poppy seed, sesame seed, cheese, salt, sunflower seed and multi-grain bagels.

We then moved on to the pretzel. That too is made with a high gluten flour which gives it it’s chewy texture. Once you get the hang of pretzel rolling, you can do it all day.

The prezel dough gets rolled out to fit the tray of the divider/rounder.

The dough gets portioned in the divider/rounder.

Perfectly portioned dough ready to be shaped.

First stage of shaping.

The shaped dough gets it’s final roll out, like a mini baguette.

A shaped prezel, ready for proofing.

Pretzel soldiers on it’s way to the lye bath. Well, the traditional way to make pretzels is to dip them in a lye solution. We didn’t. I can’t quite tell you what we dipped them in before baking. I was off doing another task.

Golden brown, chewy, salty bits o’ heaven.

Off to more lean yeast doughs. Since I went over the shaping of a baguette in my last blog, I will just show you the wonderful loaves that we produced this week. Angie and I made the Whole Wheat loaves you see below.

The dough was laced with sesame and sunflower seeds.

Angie loading up the rack oven.

The loaves were sprayed and dusted with bran just before baking. We were please with the outcome of our endeavors. A hearty, nutty and dense bread, perfect for a sandwich.

We also made some wheat germ and plain wheat baguettes. Like the pretzel, once you get the hang of the shape, you can roll them all day.

Sourdough Rye Boules- We each get to practice our scoring technique with a bakers lame (mounted razor blade). Mine is the 3rd from the left with the flour on it. My loaf was also proofed in a wicker banneton. It’s a bowl that imparts a design onto the dough. Cool!

My favorite bread of the day was the basic Sourdough. I can honestly say that this was the best tasting bread I have ever had. The crust, through the Maillard reaction caramelized to a deep toffee color. The crust did taste of caramel. The crumb was chewy but not too tough. It has a slight sour to it but not overwhelming. I’m looking forward to Advanced Baking. I’m certain that we will bake these lovelies again! I understand our sourdough started began it’s life about 11 years ago with some crushed grapes and a very lonely lady! Most yeast breads use commercial yeasts. Sourdoughs use natural yeast that are developed over time. These starters are kept and “fed” every few days to perpetuate the line.

We finally moved out of lean yeast doughs and on to our favorite treat…the doughnut. We started with a cake doughnut that was “launched” from the batter depositor into the fryer.

Chef Chelsea demos cake doughnut production.

They get fried to a golden brown.

Once they are done, they get removed, put on a rack to cool and the decorating begins.

Chocolate fondant covered cake doughnuts topped with colored sprinkles and chocolate jimmies.

We also made some basic yeast raised doughnuts. We got a little creative and even used lavender icing.

I’ve never heard of a doughnut muffin until today. It is dipped in melted butter and dredged in cinnamon sugar.

We did some circles and long johns that we filled with various different creams.

Towards the end, I couldn’t tell if we were in a baking class or an art class!

All of the product that we make gets sold in the food court. Here are the fruits of our labor. The fun and games had to come to an end. What better way to end an action packed week than with a mid-term exam. Aw nuts! It was a doozy.

Next week; fritters, crepes, pies, sauces, and the list goes on.

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About tinfoilduck

I had this wacky idea to go to culinary school, while maintaining another full time career. I will be blogging about the program and how it affects me as I try to manage my daily life and how I try to keep everything together.
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2 Responses to Culinary School Here I Come (46) Beginning Baking Week 3, Bagels, Prezels, Breads and Doughnuts…Oh My!

  1. Mari says:

    Wow! It all looks so good. I’m dying here. Prior to culinary school, did you have any experience with cooking at all?

    • tinfoilduck says:

      I was a self taught cook. I wanted to go to culinary school to see what I was doing right and learn what I wasn’t. I’m learning more in baking because I never did much baking other than box cakes. Breads terrified me but now I’ll make hamburger buns or bread at home.

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